News Release
December 10, 2007

New London Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Gun Charge

DEC 10 -- June W. Stansbury, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and Kevin J. O’Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that LAIRD YARD, 27, of Morgan Street, New London, pleaded guilty on Friday, December 7, before United States Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, on August 2, 2007, New London Police arrested YARD after a court-authorized search of YARD’s residence revealed a .380 caliber semi-automatic Bersa pistol.

Prior to August 2, 2007, YARD had sustained three convictions for possession of narcotics in Connecticut Superior Court.

It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.

YARD is scheduled to be sentenced by Chief United States District Judge Robert N. Chatigny on February 29, 2008, at which time YARD faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

This prosecution is part of an ongoing federal, state and local law enforcement effort to quell violence fueled by the drug trade in southeastern Connecticut. On December 1, 2005, Deshawn Stewart was killed in a hit and run in retaliation for a gunpoint robbery of two individuals in New London in which he took part. Following Stewart’s death, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives intensified its relationship with the New London and Norwich Police Departments in order to investigate narcotics and firearms trafficking in the area, and target habitual offenders and individuals with violent histories for federal prosecution. To date, more than 30 individuals have been charged with federal crimes as a result of this joint investigative effort. Several additional individuals have been prosecuted by the New London States Attorney’s Office. The effort, which has expanded to include several additional police departments and the Connecticut State Police, also has removed more than two dozen illegal firearms from the streets.

This matter is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, the New London Police Department, the Norwich Police Department, the City of Groton Police Department, the Town of Groton Police Department, the Waterford Police Department, the Stonington Police Department, the Willimantic Police Department and the Connecticut State Police.